QR codes have exploded onto the scene. A year ago, few people even knew what they were. But now you see them everywhere. On the box of the pizza you just had delivered, on the price tag of your new blouse and even on food labels.
Some people look at them and have no idea what to do, while others will whip out their iPhone or other smart phone lickety-split and scan the code. The important thing is to use QR codes effectively. Otherwise, you may just alienate your customer, rather than attracting them.
For those of you who aren't aware, QR stands for quick response. These two words basically sum up the purpose of the box-shaped code. It's quick, because your customer can instantly scan it and (hopefully) reap the benefits. It's a response, because it encourages customer engagement. For the code to work its magic though, you need the following:
1. A smart phone
2. A QR Code reader app
And you should follow these tips:
Customer is King
Just because you're not physically interacting with your client, does not mean that they aren't king anymore. Focus less on what you want and more on the customer experience. Be purposeful and relevant in your offers. Does your QR code take forever to load? Is their a lengthy form to fill out using a cumbersome keypad? Keep these things in mind.
Decide beforehand what exactly you want from the QR code campaign. Do you want more leads? Are you trying to beef up your database? Know your objectives and then design your campaign to get the user to do what you want.
Remember the quick part of QR. People who are scanning your code, are probably on the go. Make sure that you offer your user a easy and smooth experience. Keep it simple and instantly appealing. Make it worth their time.
Know your Customer
While you may be lucky enough to have a target audience of 25-to 34-year-olds, who already have experience with QR codes, you may also be targeting a group that may need some help. Keep this in mind. Don't assume that everyone will know what to do. You may want to let your potential customer know how to read the QR code and/or suggest an app for that purpose. You know what they say about assumptions...
Value, as always, is incredibly important. Reward people for going through the trouble of scanning your code. Your QR code should offer the customer something they value. For example, a store may offer a coupon or a nightclub may offer a free MP3 download. Either way, don't just point them to your website, because they probably won't go. Your QR Code should be a call-to-action.
Although some of these may seem like common sense, their have been plenty of QR code campaigns that have flopped miserably. You may be doing something hip and cool, but follow through. Don't make them regret having taken the time out of their day to scan your code. Make it worth your and the customers while.
The Mobile Web doesn't only offer exciting opportunities for consumers. New innovations are bringing cutting-edge efficiency and expansion opportunities to businesses as well, especially small-businesses.
Dongle-based technology began in 2010, when the company Square released a little bit of tech that allowed companies to accept credit card payments in less than a minute, without many of the draw backs that traditionally keep businesses from accepting credit cards, much to their consumers dismay.
So what is a dongle? Besides being a a universally laughter-inducing word, it refers to the small card-reading device that you plug into your mobile device's audio jack, which allows you to accept credit card payments quick and painless. You have probably seen one of the two dongle varieties, the white cube from Square or the orange-slice-shaped dongle from Pay Anywhere, attached to someone's mobile device and wondered what it was for.
It's for taking your business to the next level. It's for avoiding the long-term contracts, high monthly fees, expensive credit card readers and dedicated phone lines, that typically plague credit card acceptance and deter business owners from providing their customers with an essential service.
Purchases made on smart phones and tablets rose 83% from 2010 to 2011 and that amounts to a whopping $5.3 billion. Wouldn't you like a piece of that American pie, while also improving the efficiency and revenue-making ability of your business?
We are currently in a very exciting period, when the mobile web and its power are becoming a reality and there are many opportunities for businesses to, not only, improve their internal functions, but also increase business by offering the latest in customer service.
If you have a (small) business and you haven't yet looked into getting a dongle for yourself, I would strongly recommend at least doing some research.
The young social media platform, Pinterest, is gaining momentum and catching peoples attention all over the web. Even though you still need an invite to join (because it's in Beta), literally millions of people have already joined and are pinning here, there and everywhere. In fact, in December alone, they had 7.51 million unique visitors. The best thing is that Pinterest is not only great for individual users, it is also a cool tool for businesses, in particular retailers. Just like Facebook, Pinterest can be used to humanize your brand. Interested yet? Read on.
What is Pinterest?
According to Pinterest themselves, their site is a “virtual pinboard to organize and share the things you love.” Across the web, Pinterest has been given many other names, including “image content curation site” and “visual social discovery network”. All those sound pretty fancy, right? Well, Pinterest is fancy and powerful, too. Here's how it works. You basically create online pinboards for the different categories that appeal to you, like “wedding inspiration”, “fall looks” or “things to buy”. Then you “pin” things to it. It's super easy to pin things, too. You can do it from your phone or computer, utilize the Pin It bookmarklet on a site or take an inspiring pin from someone else and repin it. Okay, so we've used the word pin enough, let's move on to how all this pinning can help your business.
Businesses have lately been perking up and taking notice of Pinterest, because it is becoming a star referrer for online retailers as well as others. So, how could you get a piece of that traffic action. Here are some tips and hints:
1. This Isn't Spam Central
If you think it's a good idea to go on Pinterest and accost people with your products, you're already off to a bad start. Spamming people has never gotten anybody business. The trick with Pinterest is to promote a lifestyle related to the products you provide on your pinboard(s). By sharing the essence of your brand with others, they can see how your brand can benefit them. For example, if you sell cosmetics, you wouldn't blast your pinners away with product shots. Instead, you should pin up pictures of looks that inspire you, dramatic eye make-up, the look of the season. Pinners have the freedom to look at all, none or some of your pinboards, so be creative. Pinterest, like Facebook, is a great way to build trust. You can also share a bit about your company culture, by posting pictures of the office, last weeks office party or the annual BBQ.
2. Give em' the VIP treatment
Send a shout out to your fans asking them to pin a picture of themselves with your product and tag you.
Then, you can repin those pics to a VIP-Board. Not only does it show some appreciation for your faithful clients, but it also demonstrates to potentials how much your product is liked.
Recently had an event? Ask pinners to pin up some pictures from the soiree and create a kinda scrapbook. It will make everyone feel more involved.
Also, don't be afraid to have a “wish list” pinboard. Valentine's Day is coming up and 70% of pinners are women, so don't be afraid to get them to share what they are hoping for.
3. Research Value
Don't have the resources to perform a big market research campaign? Many small businesses don't, especially in the current economic climate. That's why you should view pinboards and pinners as a way to collect information about your target market. They are offering up information on their ambitions, interests, likes and wants and you should definitely not ignore it.
People love contests! Just like I've said in my posts about Facebook, a contest is always a surefire way to get people interested. Who doesn't like an opportunity to win something? Since Pinterest is new, it may be harder to find inspiration and you will need to get creative, but don't be deterred. Contests will create interest and get people involved in your brand.
I hope I have inspired you to check out Pinterest for your small business. If the information provided so far hasn't totally convinced you, let me add one more thing. Pinterest also has the possibility to help your search engine rankings. Unlike Flickr, Pinterest's links are not NOFOLLOW-ed, so they can provide your site with ranking boosts. Keep an eye out for more one that.
If you're interested in checking out the possibilities Pinterest has for your small business, but you want some help, allow Colibris to give you a hand.
It seems like everyone on the planet right now is talking about apps, even though most people couldn't tell you what an app was in a strict sense, but we all love and use them. But, the truth is, mobile apps are not the answer for many B2B companies and even B2C companies.
There is no denying that the mobile web is expanding and morphing every day and that more and more people are accessing company information through their mobile devices and making consumer decisions based on that encounter. So, it's key that you're, not only, utilizing the mobile web, but using it correctly as well. By 2012, 20% of all searches will be performed through a mobile device, so make sure you're there to benefit from that considerable shift in consumer behavior.
If you're a B2B business or a B2C company that sells goods that wouldn't fare well in an app, take a moment to read this blog before you jump into the large investment that the development of a custom app requires.
Optimizing your company website for mobile web use is often times a better solution. Research performed in 2011, showed that 33% of businesses had accessed a suppliers website using their mobile device, whereas only 10% had downloaded a business suppliers app.
In the current economic climate, it is important for businesses, especially small-businesses to get as much bang for their buck as possible. The following are some tips for where you should place your resources to create an effective mobile web presence:
The mobile web is undoubtedly a hot bed of opportunity for businesses to access their consumers. The question is no longer if you should jump on the bandwagon, it's more a question of when. When you're ready to get noticed on the mobile web, Colibris can help you with that.
So, you used the tips we gave you and started promoting your Facebook page. Now your number of fans has grown considerably, but you don't know how to entertain them. What should a business put on their Facebook page to keep their fans happy and continue their exposure?
Sometimes this question is very simple to answer. Businesses that sell products or offer beauty services can often come up with numerous ideas for their Facebook page. But, if your business provides a complex service, such as industrial coating, or services that require a certain amount of confidentiality, such as insurance, it may seem a daunting task to come up with fresh ideas to engage your fans. Not to worry, even the most obscure businesses can find something to put on their Facebook page that will keep people interested.
Just like every other type of community, Facebook fans need to be nurtured.
There are countless ways to nurture your Facebook Community, the following are some general ideas:
Providing your fans with pictures is a great way to get them involved and lends a personal touch to your Facebook page. You can post pictures of your office, clinic, boutique, products or even pictures of last week's Christmas party (if they're not too crazy.) Fans love pictures and it makes them feel closer to you and your business.
Hopefully you have a blog on your website that provides your visitors with great, relevant and fresh information. Don't forget to include those blog articles on Facebook. You can pull your blog's RSS Feed onto your Facebook page, so that your fans can enjoy that wealth of information, too.
Set up a discussion on your Facebook page and get people talking. Have you just launched a new product, service or special? Ask your fans what they think and allow them to give you some useful feedback. Or discuss something new in your industry, there are many topics that could start a relevant discussion.
Contests Are Best
There are few things more motivating than contests and sweepstakes. Leveraging these two things can help you please your fans and often find some new ones. Set up a contest for a discount on your latest item, a free month of service or something else appealing that is exclusive to your Facebook community. They'll love it.
FB Is Special
A great way to encourage repeat visits, is to post content and information on your Facebook page that can only be found there. If the information can be found anywhere, your fans are less likely to check out your Facebook page for the latest info.
Post A Video
Fans love video. Let them get a sneak peek at a new product or service or give them some useful tutorials.
Don't just put all this effort into cultivating a following and then let it die. Be active in your community. Take part in discussions, respond to fan comments and use status updates to encourage fan involvement. You could ask them about their weekend plans, wish them a lovely holiday or ask their opinion.
Don't Police (too much)
Every business hates the idea that someone may post a negative comment about them on the web, especially on their Facebook page. Some would think to delete it immediately, but, research shows, it may be more productive to let it stay. You may even want to respond to it in a constructive way to show that you care and that you're willing to make sure that everyone has a positive experience. Judge these scenarios on a case-by-case basis and don't police your community too much.
These are really just a sampling of the wide range of things you can do on your Facebook page to encourage your fans to hang out, interact and invite their friends. Remember to interact, have fun and don't be afraid to think outside the box.
Colibris has a certified Social Media Specialist that would be happy to help you establish, nurture and/or grow your Facebook community.